Columns

2011.09.14 Nose bubbles of the future

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

The good thing about a Monday holiday is that it gives me an extra day to produce a newspaper. The bad part happens the next week when we’re one day short to make another paper. That’s why I’m not even going to think about coming up with something to write here. Instead I’m just looking backward 20 years to 1991. 

I’m often rather puzzled by what I dig up out of the past, and this week is no exception. 

Sept. 11, 1991

What’s this world coming to? I’ll tell you: wider nostrils, meaner insects, weirder kids. All of these factors will alter life as we know it during the next decade or two.

My son Ben, who serves as a third grade bathroom monitor, was stung by a phantom insect while picking up a volleyball Saturday in our side yard.

Whatever it was—probably a bee—must have worked its way under the tongue of Ben’s shoe or into his sock. His ankle was still swollen Monday morning. 

A couple of hours after the bee sting, he got jumped by a spider. I mean jumped. The thing left the ground a few inches and landed on Ben’s finger, probably an act of self-defense. The next day I saw Ben on the couch with an ice pack on the top of his head. Weird.

He had some interesting news to report. He said he blew a gum bubble from his nostril Friday night and it measured about three inches. I was amused, pleased and so very proud. During all the years that I was a kid, I don’t think I ever stretched gum over my nose and blew a bubble.

Nose bubbles are probably one of the requirements for becoming a school bathroom monitor. Just what does a bathroom monitor do? Make sure everything is going straight? Count flushes? Check hand washing? If Ben had been serving as a home bathroom monitor, he wouldn’t have had those run-ins with the bee and spider.

His allergy to bee stings brings to mind a friend whose nostrils flare when she’s stung. She places chewed bread on the sting to draw out the poison, or at least to take her mind off the pain. Her lips swell, too, making it difficult to chew the bread, but it’s the flaring nostrils I’m thinking about.

My wife was told by someone recently that people living up here toward the northern part of the world have longer noses to better warm the cold winter air as it heads for the lungs. Those living near the equator have short, wide noses with flaring nostrils.

My theory is that nostrils are slowly changing due to global warming. Tiger mosquitoes, fire ants, killer bees—you never used to hear about those guys. Now they’re moving northward as the climate slowly warms. And with that will come an ever-increasing size of nostrils, a genetic change that will seriously alter the appearance of family portraits in the next century.

Perhaps we can obtain a grant through the Nose Division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to study this trend. Our findings will be titled “The Incidence of Spreading Nostrils in Post-Glacial North America.”

My wife is apparently somewhat of an animal trainer and perhaps our warming future will please her as it brings in a new array of creatures.

She read in a library book instructions for hypnotizing a frog. Shortly after Ben’s spider attack, we found a toad and handed it over. We gathered ’round for the show. This was going to be good stuff.

She bravely picked it up, turned it on its back and began to gently rub its tender belly. The toad began to pee. And pee. And pee. I thought only a deflated carcass would remain when it finished. We all tried to give it some hypno-suggestions, but it continued with a behavior that only a bathroom monitor would find interesting.

The future is looking wet, warm and weird. And by the year 2020, with ever-widening nostrils, the kids of Morenci are going to be blowing some excellent nose bubbles.

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